Skynews.com.au provides a strong example of how news can be shared in a multimedia setting.
By exploring the website and its affiliated social media pages on Twitter and Facebook, it was evident that Sky News has a clear model for multimedia news storytelling. The skynews.com.au website itself provides clear, user-friendly access to the news. News stories are separated into categories under headings to optimise access to articles which particularly interest readers. Sky News separates its content into News, Business, Weather, Culture, Tech, Sport and Catch Up, with subheadings corresponding to each. These sections contain easily accessible articles which, in over half of the stored pieces, contain a mix of print and video news storytelling.
The Sky News Twitter page demonstrated how social media can be used to create intrigue around news stories. The Twitter page features a selection of either emotive photos or action shots which compel the reader to look further into the story. This is supplemented by the 140 character limitation, which prompts journalists to write intriguing and punchy by-lines.
The Sky News Facebook page connects readers to the Sky News television platform, with video snippets from live in the studio. This differs from other news sources, in that it doesn’t create a sense of the journalists being ‘on the ground’. To an extent, uploading videos of reports from live in the studio reinforces the traditional linear communication model previously practiced by Sky News as a television network. This could be perceived as a weakness amongst other audiences, however it is likely to suit a large portion of the current Sky News audience – being a platform available through a costly subscription service (Foxtel). It is possible that as more digital natives move into the Sky News target audience, there will be a stronger push for Facebook Live reporting. This would enable viewers to adopt an interactive model of communication, sending through their reactions and comments to the news outlet as the event unfolds.
Learning from the Site:
Skynews.com.au demonstrates the value of adding videos to print news stories. With the general industry pressure to cover a wider range of content in a shorter period, having the option to supplement written news with video helps to bring a human dimension to the stories. Being able to communicate the atmosphere around, and reaction to, certain news stories without having to write a feature length piece means that news which appeals to a variety of audiences can be covered; this is exemplified in the numerous categories and subcategories covered by Sky News.
News websites feature stories with a low word count, which rely on images, atmospheric clips, sound bites and interviews to create the depth that would previously have required longer, perhaps feature length, articles. Skynews.com.au would likely appeal to time-poor audiences, as access to its content has been streamlined through clear categorisation and sub-categorisation. Whilst this type of news could be criticised for being closer to ‘infotainment’ than an in-depth analysis of events, it has been tailored to the demands of current news audiences.